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A substantial number of study findings were published in 2019 which linked the hair loss-causing autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata (AA) to depression.

The highly visible nature of these hair loss conditions, which can cause anything from bald spots on the scalp to complete baldness from head to toe, was thought to contribute to the psychological and emotional difficulties of those affected.

In January 2019 it was also found that, not only is depression more common in people with Alopecia Areata, but having depression may significantly increase the risk of developing alopecia.

On 2nd January 2020, in Scottish research findings published in the British Journal of Dermatology, two specific molecules – type 17 and type 2 cytokines – were shown to exhibit positive correlations with both Alopecia Areata and depression.

Dysregulation in systemic type 17 and type 2 cytokines

These researchers wanted to explore the link between mental health and Alopecia Areata, reasoning that, “Unfortunately, 60 per cent of people with AA will also develop depression, anxiety or a related condition.”

Their primary aims were to find out whether people with Alopecia Areata had different levels of molecules that had been produced by the immune system in their blood. Previous research into other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, has made connections between molecules produced by immune cells and depression.

When comparing their clinical results to those of people without Alopecia Areata, the team discovered “increased levels of multiple molecules that are produced by activated immune cells” in the Alopecia Areata group.

Complex questionnaires were then used to establish depression scores for both the participants with Alopecia Areata, and those without. When using both sets of data to establish if there was a connection between these molecules and the depression some of the AA participants had, two specific molecules stood out. These were systemic type 17 and type 2 cytokines which were notably elevated in those with AA and these levels being associated with how depressed the individual was.

As such, the team concluded: “Alopecia Areata is characterized by dysregulation in systemic type 17 and type 2 cytokines, which may contribute to disease‐associated psychological morbidity.”

Research part-funded by Alopecia UK

Their studies were funded by a PhD studentship grant from Medical Research Scotland, part funded by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, with additional funding from the hair loss charity, Alopecia UK.

Alopecia UK is the biggest charity in the country that is dedicated to supporting those with medical hairloss. In addition to providing online resources, running local peer support groups and running many events where people who are affected by any form of Alopecia Areata – or their friends and family – can get together, it also funds research into the condition.

It is hoped this new information will help to further the medical community’s understanding of autoimmune alopecia and its relationship with depression and other mental health problems, and be of use to those developing new Alopecia Areata treatments.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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HairlossANSWERS - Click to Submit Your Query to Our Hair Loss Experts

Name: Ally

Question: My 10 year old daughter hit her head a month and a half ago I did her hair and she had braids. I had her putting ice on it. I noticed it when I was doing her hair maybe a week after she hit it. The more she iced the more her knot puffed out and she said it hurt. We noticed her braid had hair disappearing around it when we took them out she ended up with a bald patch where she hit her head but now it is like the knot flattened out. Please tell me what happened to my baby’s hair and should I consult a dermatologist.

braids tight hairstyles locs hair loss in children

Answer: Hi, Ally. A bang, blow or knock to the head can trigger Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune disorder which can be triggered by such a force and is likely unrelated to the braided hairstyle your daughter wears.

Hair loss caused by frequently wearing tight hairstyles, such as braids, is known as Traction Alopecia and, as banging your head does not pull out the hair, Alopecia Areata is the more likely diagnosis here.

It could be the case that when she hit her head it disrupted her hair growth cycle, pushing some hairs that were in the active growth stage prematurely into the shedding phase. The cycle may remain paused for some time, however, in many cases of mild Alopecia Areata, such as you seem to be describing, the hair will regrow within 12 months.

With this in mind, I recommend you wait it out for around three months if possible. Given where there is a sole bald patch, or small amount of patchy hair loss, hair regrowth will often resume naturally of its own accord, after three months you should be able to see signs of hair growth occurring in the affected area.

It is worth noting that this hair regrowth may be white or cream in appearance, regardless of the natural hair colour your daughter has, when it first comes through. This is because of a lack of pigmentation in the new hair, which may take a little while to catch up. The hair generally returns to its original shade, however.

At Belgravia we only offer Alopecia Areata treatment to adults and are unable to treat any type of hair loss in children.

Should you wish to have a definitive diagnosis and potentially explore treatment options, as your daughter is under 16 years of age, we certainly do recommend taking her to a local dermatologist; if you cannot find one you feel comfortable with, your doctor should be able to refer your daughter to one. We hope she’s feeling better soon.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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The Belgravia hair loss blog has been bringing you the latest developments, treatment Success Stories and answering readers’ queries, since 2006.

It is an extensive encyclopaedia of hair loss news and information, which is regularly updated by a team of writers, which includes trichologists and pharmacists.

As we kick off 2020, we take a look back at some of Belgravia’s most popular blog articles from the past decade, from 2009 to 2019, in no particular order…

mcdonalds-fries-chips-fast-food-junk-food-diet

Can McDonalds Chips Regrow Hair and Cure Hair Loss?

This story, from February 2018, detailed how a chemical found in McDonald’s french fries played an important role in a technique trialled for mass-producing hair follicle germs, from which to regrow hair. The discovery is still being developed and has potential applications for a number of hair loss conditions, including androgenetic alopecia in men and women, Cicatricial Alopecia and Alopecia Areata. Sadly, it does not involve eating any chips.

How to Prevent and Regrow a Receding Hairline

One of Belgravia’s earliest posts on the timeless subject of preventing hair loss around the hairline, with advice on restoring a receding hairline, is still among its most popular.

When Will Trinov / Prof Brotzu Lotion Hair Loss Remedy Be Released?

An update from December 2018 which outlined the latest information regarding a new, Italian hair loss product – known as both Trinov and Professor Brotzu Lotion, which claimed to treat Male Pattern Baldness.

Replicel Shiseido Treatment Update

A Summer 2018 update on where the hotly anticipated Replicel/Shiseido hair loss treatment for Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss was in its development process. The injectable hair loss solution was initially expected to be made available in 2015 but Replicel seemed to suggest Shiseido may have caused delays to the still unreleased product.

Thinning Hair May Signal Rare B12 Deficiency Disease

This article reported the findings of a 2017 study which explained how a rare condition known as cblC can stop people processing vitamin B12, leading to severe health problems, thinning hair and hair fall.

Male Pattern Hair Loss Treatment and Hair Growth Supporting Products The Belgravia Centre Hairloss Clinic

‘Can You Take Finasteride 3 Times a Week?’

One of the 2010’s most popular hairlossANSWERS article concerned the only oral Male Pattern Hair Loss Treatment to be clinically-proven, MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved – finasteride 1mg. A thorough answer to this blog reader’s query about the proper use of this DHT-inhibitor was provided by Belgravia superintendent trichologist, Rali Bozhinova.

FUE Follicular Unit Extraction Hair Transplant Technique, Renamed

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) announced the change in terminology relating to FUE hair transplant surgery in early 2018. Instead of standing for Follicular Unit ‘Extraction’, it was advised that this would stand for Follicular Unit ‘Excision’ from now on.

‘How Do I Apply Minoxidil?’

A constant favourite, Belgravia’s instructions on how to apply minoxidil – the only MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved hair loss treatment which can be used by both men and women – are clear, concise and easy to follow, no matter which formulation of this topical hair loss solution, you use.

The Truth About Sex, Masturbation and Hair Loss

Written in 2009 but still as relevant as ever, this article provides the facts of the matter regarding one of Belgravia’s most frequently asked hairloss questions, from men at least: does masturbation cause hair loss (spoiler: it doesn’t, or is at least incredibly unlikely).

How to Spot the Early Signs of Hair Loss in Men and Women

A self-explanatory article from 2009 details the key signs of Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, so readers worried they may be losing their hair, know what to look out for.

If you have a question you would like our hair loss specialists to answer, here on our blog, click here to submit it. Thank you for reading and we hope to keep you fully informed throughout the new decade – remember to check back daily for new updates.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

Related Stories


One of the UK’s most-loved children’s charities, Little Princess Trust, which supplies free real-hair wigs to kids with medical hair loss, has announced a breakthrough in its paediatric cancer research.

Funds raised by the charity not only go towards producing the wigs it donates, so they can be supplied without charge, but also fund childhood cancer research projects.

Little Princess Trust was set up by Wendy Tarplee-Morris, in honour of her late daughter Hannah, who was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour in 2005. Now, a research project carried out by the Wellcome Sanger Institute, to which the charity awarded a grant of £63,844, has managed to pinpoint the earliest genetic root of Wilms’ tumour kidney cancer.

Improving treatment and helping to prevent recurrence

Little Princess Trust new logo 2018 hair loss charity for children

A statement on the Little Princess Trust website advises that this significant find should help scientists to “improve treatment and help prevent Wilms’ tumours returning”. Additionally, it may lead to a way to screen for this type of cancer in future to catch it early, or prevent it from developing altogether.

Study author, Tim Coorens explained the team’s discovery as follows:

“A good analogy for what we found is that Wilms’ tumour is not just an isolated weed on an otherwise well maintained field. We discovered that the weed has an extensive root underneath the soil. Now we know we need to look for the patch of soil where the root has taken hold. If we remove that patch, the weed isn’t going to return.”

“As a parent who lost my daughter to Wilms’, it is very sobering to know that almost 15 years later a child with the same diagnosis is likely to have the same outcome,” added Wendy Tarplee-Morris. “Therefore, the news of any advances which improve understanding and could potentially lead to preventing childhood cancer is very welcome indeed.”

Ways to help Little Princess Trust

Many people know about the Little Princess Trust through its hair donations – where men, women and children grow their hair long in order to be able to cut off at least 7 inches to donate to the charity, This is then processed and woven into wigs for children and young adults who have lost their hair, often to cancer treatment or forms of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

Whilst this is the shortest possible donation, those in the greatest demand are hair lengths of 16 inches and over, and all donors are advised to keep growing their hair until it is long enough to donate at least 12 inch-long strands. Full details of how to donate hair to the charity can be found on its website.

This year has seen two Belgravia team members – one from our City of London branch and one from our Central London hair loss clinic – donate ponytails of just over 11 inches each.

In addition to donating hair, monetary donations are also accepted by phone, post or online, as is sponsorship for the various fundraising initiatives the charity runs throughout the year. These are advertised on its website and social media channels.

Little Princess Trust is also planning to launch a range of merchandise soon, to further help bring in financial contributions to help with its heart-warming work.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

Related Stories


Biotin is one of a handful of vitamins known to help maintain the normal functioning of healthy hair growth and skin health.

As such, it is included in many skin and hair vitamins and food supplements designed to support hair health, as well as being available as a solo nutritional supplement.

Lipid profile iron levels blood test

New research has shown that, whilst biotin – also known as vitamin b7 – has many positive qualities, people who are undergoing certain medical tests could find their biotin intake may interfere with blood work results.

As such, it is necessary for people taking high doses of biotin, or food supplements which include biotin, to let their doctor know this as a precaution if they are recommended for any blood tests.

Tell your doctor about biotin supplement use

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK advises that patients who need to have a blood test for any reason should inform their doctor if they are taking medicines or supplements.

Belgravia superintendent dermatologist, Dr. Elena advises, “The FDA has confirmed that higher than normal daily level of biotin may interfere with some of blood test results, as follows:

  • Troponin elevates in early hours of myocardial infarction – biotin lowers the level;
  • Thyroid hormones – biotin could cause unpredictable effects (lowering or elevating);
  • Biotin affects tests for heart failure, pregnancy, cancer and iron-deficiency anaemia;
  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH), cortisol, FSH and luteinizing hormone and vitamin D

The normal daily intake of biotin is 0.05mg. The recommended dose in relation to helping maintain normal healthy hair growth is up to 10mg per day, and extremely large doses of up to 600mg id biotin can be used for multiple sclerosis. The serum level of biotin remains high for between one and three days after taking the dose. It is therefore recommended to stop taking biotin a week before the above blood tests.

For lower dose supplements, for instance Belgravia food supplements Hair Vitalics for Men and Hair Vitalics for Women, which each contain 200 micrograms (0.2mg) of biotin, the advice to tell your doctor at the time the blood work is recommended, applies. It is then up to them to decide whether it is necessary or not for you to stop taking your supplements ahead of time, and – if so – how far in advance you need to stop taking them.

If a high dose biotin supplement is taken then it is generally advisable to stop taking the supplement one week before having a blood test, concludes Dr Elena.

It may be helpful to either bring your supplements to doctors appointments with you, have a link to their website handy, or to take a photograph of the supplement’s packaging and keep it on your mobile phone so you can show this information to the doctor.

Hair Vitalics for Women Hair Vitalics for Men food supplement for healthy hair growth from The Belgravia Centre Hair Clinic London

Biotin benefits

Whilst it is important to be aware of this potential issue, it should not put off anyone from eating biotin-rich foods or taking biotin-containing supplements, in moderation.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care advises “0.9mg or less a day of biotin in supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.”

Biotin is made naturally by the bacteria in the bowel and has many benefits. It helps the body to break down fat, convert food to energy and maintain the normal healthy functioning and quality of skin, nails and hair.

It has been investigated as a therapeutic treatment for various medical issues, including Male Pattern Baldness – in early 2019 researchers discovered men with genetic hair loss may benefit from additional biotin and zinc – diabetic nerve pain and muscle cramps caused by dialysis.

In order to safely reap the benefits of biotin, it is important to keep your intake – through food alone or a mixture of food and dietary supplements – within the recommended allowance. Although rare, biotin overdose can occur in some cases, whilst biotin deficiency can lead to various problems, including hair loss.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your vitamin levels are out of balance, or if a particular food supplement is right for you, always consult your doctor or other medical or healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, beforehand.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

Related Stories


HairlossANSWERS - Click to Submit Your Query to Our Hair Loss Experts

Name: Stephen

Question: What is it that causes thinning of hair strands and diffuse hairloss from every part of body not just head… shedding numbers of hair are high…. if take section of hair and tug telogen effluvium style numbers wise shed..its quite significant everytime hair touched. 80 percent volume on head lost…..but all body hair affected same…what can do this?

Answer: Hi, Stephen. Telogen Effluvium is a disturbance in the hair growth cycle where a high percentage of your strong, growing (anagen) hair is prematurely pushed into its resting (telogen) phase, causing hair fall. It can affect any hair on your scalp or body, as can its chronic form, Diffuse Thinning.

This is a temporary hair loss condition and was most likely triggered three months prior to the shedding becoming noticeable. It is worthwhile looking back to see what may have triggered this blip in the hair cycle to ensure the underlying cause – usually stress-related – has been resolved.

Hair loss on legs body hairloss

Alopecia Areata can also cause hair loss all over the body and scalp. This is an autoimmune condition with very unpredictable nature. It has various iterations, from patchy hairloss on the scalp only in its mildest phenotype, to complete baldness of the head and/or body in its most severe forms, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis.

Whilst hair loss from the scalp-only Alopecia Areata phenotype generally clears up of its own accord within 12 months, this does not apply to those forms which affect the body as well.

There are also some rare types of scarring hair loss – known collectively as Cicatricial Alopecia – that can leave permanent patches of baldness on the scalp and body.

There can be numerous reasons for all of these and it is important to discuss this thoroughly with your doctor. Some medical conditions, medications and severe dietary deficiencies can trigger such thinning hair and your doctor may wish to arrange a blood test for you to investigate further.

At Belgravia we do not treat hair loss on the body, so we advise you to speak with your doctor or dermatologist. With regards to shedding from the scalp, we may be able to offer hair loss treatment but this will be limited to the scalp hair only.

Additionally, we would first need to asses your medical history and the severity of the hair loss on your scalp to ascertain the best approach and whether pharmaceutical treatment is most suited to your overall situation. This is why a consultation with a hair loss specialist, dermatologist or doctor is vital.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

Related Stories


Update on ATI-50002:

In June 2018 we reported on a new clinical trial being carried out by Aclaris Therapeutics into ATI-50002, a potential eyebrow hair loss solution for people with the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

ATI-50002 is a topical janus kinase inhibitor (JAK inhibitor) and one of a number of medications the company has been developing for the treatment of the various forms of autoimmune alopecia.

On 11th December 2019 the results from this Phase 1 study were published on the clinicaltrials.gov database.

Diagram Belgravia Centre Different Types of Alopecia Areata autoimmune hair loss
Areas affected by hair loss shown in blue

However, of the data findings that were released, it appears only one person – a white male aged between 18 and 65 years – took part.

Whilst it does acknowledge that the man completed the six month study, his results are listed as ‘not specified’.

No adverse events – including serious side effects – were reported, though, as the eyebrow hair regrowth results are not provided and the trial is so small in scale, unfortunately there is little to be made of this information for now.

Despite making a ‘strong commitment’ in 2016 to the development of JAK inhibitors for the treatment of all forms of Alopecia Areata, Aclaris Therapeutics terminated its development of certain novel hair loss drugs earlier in 2019. This came after a number of disappointing trial results.

There has yet to be any official word on the trial outcome from Aclaris, with mentions of the study in the trials and pipeline sections of the pharmaceutical company’s website being notably absent.

Eyebrow hairloss is generally associated with Alopecia Totalis; this is the second most severe form of Alopecia Areata. It causes baldness of the entire scalp and can also cause additional shedding of facial hair, including brows, eyelashes, beard and nasal hair.

There are currently no MHRA-licensed nor FDA-approved Alopecia Areata treatments for either adults or children with this condition. This is why the medical and pharmaceutical communities are working hard to find appropriate solutions.

There are a number of ‘off-license’ therapies and medications which have been shown to promote hair regrowth, including immunotherapy, steroids and, where the patient is an adult with patchy hair loss of the scalp only, high strength minoxidil.

For adults with baldness that involves areas other than the scalp, and for under 16s, your GP or dermatologist should be your first port of call for assistance. For those whose hair loss is limited to sudden onset bald patches on the scalp, specialists at a dedicated hair loss clinic can provide a professional diagnosis and treatment recommendations.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

Related Stories


In 2015, Northwestern University in the USA announced it would be conducting a clinical trial to establish PAI-1 levels in people with non-scarring forms of hair loss.

Now, after a lengthy delay, trial registration information for this research states that enrolment began on 27th November 2019.

What is PAI-1?

What is PAI-1?

Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is a protein which plays an important role in preventing blood clotting.

It is produced by the cells lining the blood vessels and can also be secreted by adipose (body fat) tissue.

At elevated levels, PAI-1 has been associated with various illnesses and conditions, from haemorrhaging and certain types of cancer to obesity and thrombosis.

The stated aim and methodology of the clinical trial, is given as follows: “This study will investigate whether subjects who suffer from hair loss have increased levels of PAI-1 compared to age-matched control subjects…

Tissue PAI-1 expression levels will be determined by immunohistochemistry, a three-layer biotin-strepavidin system. Positive PAI-1 expression per total tissue area will be quantified using the color-picker function in imaging software.The PAI-1 expression found in normal scalps will be compared to those found in scalps with hair loss.

Presumably, making a connection between raised PAI-1 levels and hair loss would provide a new avenue for researchers investigating the biology of certain forms of alopecia. This may also then give scientists another angle to explore when developing future hair loss treatments.

Hair Loss research alopecia areata microscope

Trial participant criteria

The 55 participants are all aged between 18 and 60 years of age and have been diagnosed with one of three separate hair loss conditions.

These are Androgenetic Alopecia (better known as Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss), temporary shedding from Telogen Effluvium or patchy hair fall caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

None of the volunteers have had hair transplant surgery, nor do they have any inflammatory scalp conditions, such as psoriasis, or scarring hair loss (cicatricial alopecia).

Those recruited have never used topical hair loss solutions, such as high strength minoxidil, to help encourage hair regrowth. Minoxidil is the only topical, unisex hair loss medication that is MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for the treatment of genetic hair loss; although not licensed for use on other hair loss conditions, its benefits in certain cases are widely acknowledged.

Each of these participants will undergo a scalp biopsy and be matched with a healthy volunteer of the same age, who has no history of hairloss, to act as a control.

We look forward to seeing the findings of this novel exploration, which are estimated to be completed in June 2020, and will update this Belgravia hair loss blog when updates become available.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

Related Stories


As winter rolls around many people start eyeing up nutritional supplements to boost their immune system in the hope of preventing colds.

Many of these products contain zinc, an essential trace element that plays a vital role in various biological functions but which cannot be generated by the body.

The reason it appears in many ‘immune support’ nutritional products is because zinc contributes to the normal function of the immune system. These are often marketed as ‘helping to fight infection’; this is because it has also been shown, in systematic reviews of clinical studies, that zinc can shorten the duration of a cold.

Zinc also has a number of other health benefits, as, not only does it contribute to the maintenance of normal vision and normal cognitive function, but it can support the maintenance of normal skin, hair and nail health.

The role of zinc in hair growth and hair loss

Belgravia Centre hair supplement Hair Vitalics for Men for Women food supplements general nutrition vitamin tablet

When Belgravia hair experts developed the formulation for Hair Vitalics food supplements, both for Men and for Women, zinc was one of the first ingredients to be included. There are three key reasons for this…

Firstly, zinc is known to help support the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth, making it something of a no-brainer to include in a highly-targeted hair supplement.

Secondly, zinc also has a role in the process of cell division and contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to premature hair loss in at least two clinical studies.

Thirdly, zinc deficiency can contribute to hair loss so it is important for people to ensure they consume a healthy amount every day. Some people may not be able to absorb zinc properly and, in these cases, a GP should be consulted as the underlying reason will need to be established so that appropriate treatment can be decided upon.

Recently, it has also been shown in clinical trials that men with Male Pattern Baldness may benefit from zinc and biotin.Whilst women with Female Pattern Hair Loss were shown to have lower levels of zinc and iron. Both biotin – another well-known hair vitamin – and iron are also included in both Hair Vitalics formulations.

Various clinical trials over the years have also linked the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata to low zinc levels.

Daily recommendations for zinc

The NHS advises that the recommended daily intake of zinc is 5.5–9.5mg a day for men, and 4–7mg a day for women.*

The UK Food Standards Agency and Department of Health recommends not consuming more than 25mg of zinc per day, as “too much may cause anaemia and weakening of the bones”. *

Therefore, when taking zinc supplements, or other nutritional support products containing zinc, such as multivitamins or hair supplements, it is important to ensure your intake, including zinc obtained through your diet, meets this criteria.

Causes of zinc deficiency

Zinc must be supplied through the diet. It can easily be obtained from a number of dietary sources, including meat, seafood, legumes (chick peas, lentils and even baked beans), seeds and nuts.

oysters The belgravia centre
Oysters are considered the most naturally zinc-rich foodstuff

Oysters are considered the most zinc-rich food stuff for meat-eaters and pescatarians, whilst sun-dried tomatoes and pumpkin seeds are among the best natural vegetarian and vegan sources of zinc.

In addition to those not getting enough zinc through their diets because of an unbalanced diet, deficiency can also occur for various other reasons.

Zinc deficiency is often seen in people “consuming large amounts of cereal grain (which contains a phytate considered to be chelating agent of zinc), in those with poor meat consumption or TPN [Total Parenteral Nutrition], and in infants on milk formula. Other causes of zinc deficiency include anorexia nervosa (secondary to inadequate intake, increased zinc excretion, and malabsorption due to laxative abuse), inflammatory bowel disease, jejunal bypass surgery, and cystic fibrosis. Alcoholism, malignancy, burns, infection, and pregnancy may all cause increased metabolism and excretion of zinc,” according to research published in the Dermatology & Therapy journal in March 2019 (source: doi: 10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6).

Those with eczema or seborrheic dermatitis may find their conditions worsen as a result of zinc deficiency. It can also make wound-healing slower.

If you are concerned about a potential zinc deficiency, it is best to contact your GP as they should be able to refer you for the appropriate blood tests, urine tests and/or hair strand analysis.

Thinning hair and excessive hair fall which presents as a result of zinc deficiency is known as Telogen Effluvium. It is a temporary form of hairloss which tends to become obvious around three months after being triggered.

It causes up to 30-40 per cent of all scalp hair to shed, so may be alarming, but normal hair regrowth should resume with six months, though treatment to accelerate this process may be helpful.

For those worried about sudden or unusual levels of shedding, consulting a professional hair loss specialist may be both informative and a huge relief. They will be able to identify the cause of the thinning and explain both why it is happening and what can be done to encourage hair growth, as well as providing personalised recommendations for hair loss treatments and hair growth supporting products, where appropriate.

* Information correct at time of writing: November 2019 (Source: NHS.uk)

The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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Paediatric Alopecia Areata, where the autoimmune disorder which causes sudden-onset patchy hair loss presents in children under 18 years of age, currently has no widely recommended or official treatment options.

Findings from new Serbian research involving 73 patients aged between 1 and 73 years old was published in the Dermatologic Therapy medical journal in October 2019.

Each participant had been professionally diagnosed with severe Alopecia Areata covering more than 30 per cent of their scalp, and two different therapies were trialled over the course of 6 to 12 months, to help shed light into which forms of treatment may benefit young people with this type of shedding.

Dexamethasone pulse therapy

Childrens hair loss treatment trial

This prospective study, funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia, comprised 73 patients (aged 1–18 years) with severe Alopecia Areata where it affected more than 30 per cent of the scalp’s surface.

Of this group, 37 received 1‐day intravenous dexamethasone pulses (1‐DP), whilst 36 were administered 3‐day pulses (3‐DP) each monthly for between 6 and 12 months. All patients took part for 6 months, whilst 65 of the 73 were studied until the 12 month mark.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid, usually taken orally, for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis and certain breathing disorders.

In addition to their allocated pulse therapy, all the participants in each group also applied topical clobetasol propionate under an occlusive plastic wrap. This is another steroid, generally used as a cream, applied topically to reduce inflammation and irritation in cases of skin conditions, including psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, lichen planus and discoid lupus erythematosus.

Trial findings

The trial researchers considered those who achieved hair regrowth results of 50 per cent or above to be ‘good responders’ (GR).

At the six month stage, the group receiving 3‐DP was found to have more success than the 1-DP group which saw the most frequent relapses.

Those 3-DP patients whose Alopecia Areata had been present for six months or less, saw the best outcomes. The 3-DP group also came out on top at the long‐term, 12 month follow‐up, as 67 per cent had “stable results”.

what is an autoimmune disorder information alopecia areata

No patients reported any severe short‐term nor any long-term side effects from the treatment.

Interestingly, given it is well-established that people who have one autoimmune disorder are more likely to develop others, the findings state that the children who did not also have Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) – an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid – were 9.8 times more likely to be a ‘good responder’ to the treatment than those with the condition.

It was therefore concluded that “Short disease duration and no HT were good prognostic factors. 3‐DP protocol is well‐tolerated, with beneficial effects and long‐lasting results in severe paediatric AA”.

Whilst these small-scale results show promise, there is still a long road of testing ahead before this type of Alopecia Areata treatment is able to be submitted for the appropriate MHRA and FDA designations it requires to be made widely available.

For now, those aged 16 and over with scalp-only Alopecia Areata can visit a hair loss clinic for a professional consultation and suitable treatment recommendations. These often involve the topical solution high strength minoxidil, which is currently MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for the treatment of genetic hairloss.

Under 16s with any form of Alopecia Areata, or people of any age with forms which also affect other areas of the body, such as Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis, should seek advice from their GP who can refer them to a dermatologist, if necessary, to discuss hospital-based treatments such as immunotherapy.

Emotional and practical support in the form of psychodermatology and free real-hair wigs for children and young adults affected by medical hair loss, including the various forms of autoimmune alopecia, are also options worth considering.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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